Bloemfontein will be set for a major financial boost in 2024 with the four-time World Champions, the Springboks, coming to town to play in a historic once-off Test against Portugal.
In 2023, Bloemfontein Courant reported that the Wolves could be heading to the City of Roses to face Rassie Erasmus’ Springboks, and this was confirmed on Friday by SA Rugby.
Portugal are certainly not world beaters, but they were the surprise package at the 2023
Rugby World Cup in France, and have earned the right to tackle the Springboks by virtue of overtaking Georgia in the world rankings.
The CEO of Free State Rugby, Ross van Reenen, told Bloemfontein Courant that it’s an honour to be able to host this historic Test.
“Portugal did extremely well at the Rugby World Cup and they are ranked higher than Georgia. They come with a fantastic record,” said Van Reenen.
“Bloemfontein has a huge Portuguese community and we want to reach out and tell everyone to come and support us on the day. This is a Springbok team that has won four World Cups, of which two were back-to-back. I think we are really going to see some fantastic players and a display of incredible skill.
Van Reenen added that in hosting a Test, people come to the city and spend money, which will be a welcome financial boost for the region.
“Without a doubt, this will be a huge economic injection. I’ve spoken about figures in the past of around R80 – 100 million just over the weekend in terms of hospitality, accommodation, restaurants, and just people coming to Bloemfontein to spend.
“It’s not just Bloemfontein – it is the whole of the Free State, with all towns and places like Welkom, as well as Kimberley – and we will welcome everybody.”
The historic first-ever Test between the Springboks and Os Lobos will be played on 29 July at the Toyota Stadium.
Springboks home fixtures for 2024:
Saturday, 6 July – Springboks vs. Ireland (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)
Saturday, 13 July – Springboks vs. Ireland (Kings Park, Durban)
Saturday, 20 July – Springboks vs. Portugal (Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein)
Saturday, 31 August – Springboks vs. New Zealand (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)
Saturday, 7 September – Springboks vs. New Zealand (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town)
Saturday, 28 September – Springboks vs. Argentina (Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit)
– MORGAN PIEK